Elmo Theatre

631 Main Street,
Custer City, OK 73639

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Additional Info

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Princess Theatre, Rex Theatre

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The Princess Theatre was opened on April 13, 1912 with Kathlyn Williams in “The Two Orphans”. On September 1, 1916 it was renamed Rex Theatre. It was still known as the Rex Theatre until November 29, 1944.

It was remodeled and reopened as the Elmo Theatre on January 4, 1945 with Dorothy Lamour in “Rainbow Island”. In 1948 the Elmo Theatre ran a display advertisement in the Custer City High School Yearbook, owned by Elmo C. Rankin. It was closed on May 29, 1954 with Judy Canova in “The WAC of Walla Walla”.

Contributed by Kewpie

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

dallasmovietheaters on August 13, 2021 at 6:09 am

The Princess Theatre was a movie theatre in downtown Custer City next to the Parker Hotel that launched on April 13, 1912 with Kathlyn Williams and Winifred Greenwood in “The Two Orphans.” J.R. Wilson sold the venue to Pearl White who refreshed the theatre which reopened September 1, 1916 as the Rex Theatre presenting Bluebird Studio photoplay supported by Monogram shorts.

Big news took place under operator Chester Kelley at the Rex on May 18, 1930 when sound films were shown beginning with Will Rogers in “They Had to see Paris.” The Rex nameplates ceased after the November 29, 1944 showing of Gary Cooper in “The Story of Dr. Wassell” supported by a cartoon. Kelley sold the theatre to Elmo C. Rankin who refreshed the venue with a streamline modern front reopening as the Elmo Theatre on January 4, 1945 with Doroth Lamour in “Rainbow Island” supported by.a Disney cartoon short and a newsreel. Both shows sold out for Rankin, who also operated the town’s mill and - in 1947 - taking on the town’s newspaper, the Custer City Courier.

In 1954, Elmo Rankin moved to Kansas and that appears to be either the end of the theatre or the end of the free newspaper ads - or, most likely, both. The last film does appear to be Judy Canova in “The WAC of Walla Walla” on May 29, 1954. For a town with fewer than 500 at that point, 32 years of movie theater operation was quite an achievement.

The theatre was on Main Street one building away from Broadway and appears to have been at 631 Main Street - since demolished - if that is correct.

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